Dietitians Association of Australia, 35th National Conference, "Think Big", 17-19 May 2018, Sydney, Australia

Rachel BACON, Jane KELLETT, Thomas BEVITT, Irmina NAHON, Julia K. Christenson

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


International students (IS) are known to face communication and cultural challenges during professional placements. Efficacious strategies
to support these students have not been identified. The aim of this
research was to evaluate a placement preparation program (4 x 90-
minute workshops) specifically designed to support IS (n = 15/38)
enrolled in an Australian postgraduate Dietetics course in 2017. The
program covered communication (interpersonal interactions, humour,
colloquial language, accents and health terminology) and provided an
orientation to the Australian food context. All first year IS participated
in the program. Of these 6/8 students (who had subsequently completed a 6-week public health placement) participated in a personal
interview with a researcher from the project team to explore their
placement experiences. Ethics approval was obtained (UCHREC 16-74)
for this study. Data was audio-recorded, transcribed verbatim, crosschecked for consistency and thematically analysed using a qualitative
descriptive approach as described by Braun and Clark (2006). Four
themes emerged from the data: (1) The program content was relevant
to IS placement experiences but was not sufficiently practical; (2) The
program favoured the clinical context; (3) Cultural difference was not
seen as valuable; and (4) IS’ placement experiences enable their development of communication and cultural capabilities. This research suggests a placement preparation program is warranted to support IS,
however, a more holistic in-depth longitudinal authentic approach is
preferred. More emphasis could also be placed on the potential enrichment of the workplace from increased cultural diversity. This study
was funded by a University of Canberra research support grant.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationSpecial Issue
Subtitle of host publication Dietitians Association of Australia, 35th National Conference, “Think Big”
PublisherNutrition and Dietetics
Number of pages115
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2018
EventDietitians Association of Australia, 35th National Conference -
Duration: 17 May 201819 May 2018

Publication series

NameNutrition & dietetics: the journal of the Dietitians Association of Australia


ConferenceDietitians Association of Australia, 35th National Conference


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